Top 100 Most Influential Wine Blogs of 2015

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As someone who has attended wine blogging conferences around the world, we understand that wine blogging is full of deeply passionate, inspired, and hard working individuals. There are limitless ways in which the quality of a wine blog could be judged, and each person in this industry will no-doubt have their own opinions, but never before has there been such a statistical measure of influence in the wine blogging community as what we've put together over the past several months. These individuals have mastered a process of spreading influence among enough outlets, including on their own websites and on various social media channels, to receive this award and ranking for which they should be very proud. After the rankings, which include a detailed breakdown of the ranking algorithm and methodologies, read about the different blogs on our list from the creators themselves as they walk you through their story and how you might be able to create a successful wine blog of your own.

top 100 wine blogs of 2015

Rankings Algorithm:

As expected, everyone is going to have their own opinion on what makes a wine blog influential or not. There are countless ways in which we could have weighted statistics and looked at an ever-growing number of social media channels. The sample that we ended on we feel represents the current most accurate measure of "influence" for the market. Each statistic is weighted in order to not give too much significance to any individual statistic that might skew the results.

This study took advantage of some of the best tools for measuring website success and social media activity, including SEMRush, Majestic SEO, Twitonomy, Alexa, Facebook insights, and Moz. The algorithm gives fair weight to both on-site and off-site factors. On-site includes traffic, rankings, and measured trust factors. Off-site includes social media statistics, including followings and interaction, and inbound links to the site. It's important to note that this is purely a statistical measure of success, not a direct measure of the writer's talent. For that, we must trust the signals that the writer is getting to their website and their social media signals.

Click here for all the statistics on every website! **

Their Stories:

We've been doing our best to contact every writer and site owner to let them know about these awards and hear directly from them what it's like to be successful in covering the wine industry. This is a work of passion for much of the members of this prestigious list and they've shared some great advice on how to get started, what keeps them going, and why they chose to be a part of this industry. It's priceless advice for anyone looking to start a blog of your own or grow your influence if you've already begun.

If you are on the awards list and we still haven't heard from you, please email vinopashon@gmail.com and we will be happy to share your story alongside your peers anytime. Now, let's hear from the participants!

#1: winefolly.com - Madeline Puckette - @WineFolly

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

I started a career in the wine trade and wanted to offer insightful and useful advice to beginners who find it hard to get into wine. My partner is an entrepreneur and we made a great team of expert knowledge with both Web + Wine. -

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

At the end of the day, wine (and other drinks for that matter) are amazing artisan products that are made from the earth. It's a business of passion and art, and because of this, I meet a lot of amazing people who've wholeheartedly devoted themselves to this ideal. Basically, it's a group of very cool people. Also, it helps us keep our perspective, afterall, it's just wine!

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Do something unique, focused, and niche. We do need more specialists, but really, we need more people bringing new lifeblood to an aging industry. Also, I'm not going to lie, it's a full-time job to do well. If you are trying to start something, you're welcome to contact me. madeline@winefolly.com

#2: nataliemaclean.com - Natalie MacLean - @NatalieMacLean 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

I'm a double-geek. My perfect pairing is wine and technology (or wine with more wine).

After slogging through an MBA, I worked at AT&T (long-distance wars), Procter & Gamble (pie-crust skirmishes) and Silicon Graphics Inc. (special-effects battles). SGI’s super computers were used by filmmakers to create the computer generated imagery (CGI) in Star Wars, Jurassic Park, The Mask, Toy Story and other blockbusters. I often worked from SGI’s campus in Mountain View, California (now Google’s headquarters), as the company's Internet Evangelist. I was also part of trade show panel discussions with the early founders of Wine.com and Amazon.com. On weekends, I'd drive a hundred miles up the coast to the vineyards of Napa Valley and Sonoma, where I discovered a passion for wine. 

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

I love storytelling. Both of my books--Red, White and Drunk All Over and Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines -- are character sketches of obsessive personalities. The wine world seems to harbour the world's largest group of fascinating misfits. 

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Take wine seriously, learn and taste all you can, but never take yourself seriously. You must entertain before you can hope to educate.

I never forget small-town Scottish roots in Nova Scotia. I credit the long line of hard drinkers from whom I descend for my ability to drink like a fish—and for the motivation to write about it, in a transparent attempt to make it look respectable.

Feel free to contact me at natdecants@nataliemaclean.com.

#3: jancisrobinson.com - Jancis Robinson - @JancisRobinson

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

This was back in 1975! Right from university I knew I was most fascinated by food and wine and had always written (was Oxford university mag’s restaurant reviewer). A year in Provence convinced me that the subjects were not irredeemably frivolous (as most Brits regarded them then). 

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

Writing is a natural instinct for me. I want to describe emotions, people, phenomena and things that happen to me. Wine is a great topic because it satisfies both the senses and the intellect. And it’s just so delicious, varied and in tune with our times. 

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

Do it, and don’t be derivative. Just express yourself and remember there are no rights and wrongs in wine appreciation - and we are all desperate for a completely new way to approach the subject. 

Or anything else that's important to you! 

I love interacting with the members of JancisRobinson.com. And I love having a way of sharing what I think of the thousands of wines I taste and all the things that happen in the dynamic and vibrant world of wine. My children call JancisRobinson.com my fourth child. > The rankings will be published soon and we will definitely let you know when it comes out. All of your statistics from our analysis will be published in the live survey for you to check out. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything else we can do to help out.

#4: thewinecellarinsider.com - Jeff Leve - @JeffLeve 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

Wine has been my passion since I first became enamored with it after tasting a bottle of Pomerol. My initial efforts into writing about wine were for the bulletin board of Robert Parker. It was exciting and educational. Prior to that, I did not know many people that were equally enthusiastic about wine. Slowly but surely, I started adding content to the Robert Parker website with questions, thoughts and tasting notes. In time, I as my passion expanded, I became quite prolific. Eventually I was appointed as the moderator for the Robert Parker website. In 2010, the Robert Parker website moved from a free, public access site to a subscription model. Seeking a larger audience, I started my own website a few months later. 

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

A few things remain truly important to me. Of course I enjoy meeting the people that produce the wines that move me as well as traveling to other countries to taste wine. Learning about wine, wineries and wine makers, from the history of the property, to their thought process is still quite interesting to me. Tasting a lot of different wines during the year is also a blast. Especially when I am privileged to taste older, rare vintages. However, if I had to pick my favorite part or benefit from writing about wine, it comes from knowing I am able to help people find the best wines they are seeking to purchase for the least amount of money brings me a lot of pleasure. 

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

Write about what you like. Write in the style that fits you best. If you have something to say, write it and publish it. There are a myriad of different ways to approach having a blog or website. Use the words or images that fits your message and people will find you. And don't forget, wine is a passion and it's supposed to be fun. So make your website fun and passionate!

#5: reversewinesnob.com - Jon Thorsen - @ReverseWineSnob 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

The idea behind ReverseWineSnob.com was to find out if it is possible to drink great wine without spending a lot of money and without becoming a snob. Four plus years later and it seems to have worked. I really started the site on a whim and much to my surprise it really struck a chord with consumers.

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

Discovering new wine and traveling all over the world. The site has opened up doors that I never imagined and even though it's still just a hobby for me, it's a very rewarding one.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Build a vision of what you want your site to be and be consistent with it. It takes a lot of baby steps to build an audience and most people stop before they get there.

Or anything else that's important to you! :)

Reverse Wine Snob is now available in book form! My first book just became available on Amazon "Reverse Wine Snob: How to Buy and Drink Great Wine without Breaking the Bank": http://amzn.to/1cH3HVt

Thanks and cheers!

#12: merlotmommy.com - Jana Seitzer - @merlotmommy 

What made you decide to start writing about wine? 

I realized I loved some wine, and didn't love other wine, but couldn't articulate why. One summer I went to wine school to learn more about what I loved and why (and vice versa) to get a deeper understanding. I wanted to share that knowledge with my readers in an approachable way. 

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

Maybe it's not the writing but that tasting? I love being exposed to new things and trying new varietals and being able to share those experiences. When I travel, I love being able to explore new wines and regions. I'm always trying something new wherever I wander. 

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

It's important to remember that there are a ton of experts out there. Just because one person loves or dislikes a wine, doesn't always mean that wine is good or bad. Wine is a very personal and preferential thing.

#15: blog.wblakegray.com - W. Blake Gray - @wblakegray

I'm honored to be included.

I won the 2013 Roederer Award for Best Blogger/Online Wine Writer in the world. Since then they have renamed the award, so I guess I have it in perpetuity. This is good because I ordered 1000 business cards with the award on it and giving them out takes time.

#20: winecurmudgeon.com - Jeff Siegel - @winecurmudgeon 

What made you decide to start writing about wine? 

I saw there was a need for intelligent wine criticism written for consumers and not just for wine geeks, in the same way there is movie and food criticism. No one was really doing that when I started 20 years ago.

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

I enjoy seeing the recognition in someone's face when they realize they can figure wine out, and they don't need to rely on some pretentious wine writer.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

Don't be what you aren't, and write what you feel comfortable with. You can't be any good if you copy someone just to copy them. Also, transparency is all -- your readers need to know who pays for what, what you take from producers, and so forth.

#22: acevola.blogspot.com - Alfonso Cevola - @italianwineguy

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

It started simply with my blog, On the Wine Trail in Italy.I wanted a place to tell stories about Italy, wine and my experiences and images, captured while on this journey. Nothing heraldic, just a simple desire to (blog the things that I came across while on the wine trail. 

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

Like running, when it is over and the piece is done. Then I can relax and bask in the glow of the endorphins. Really the process is the destination; I know that sounds like a cliché, but there: I’ve said it. My niche is, more or less, Italy, and her wine culture. I’ve been involved with Italian wine for many years now, so I feel the need to help people feel less confounded by the laws, the regions, the many wines and get to the simple stories that pull people into the Italian wine culture in the first place – the Italian people, the flavors, the deliciousness of life on the wine trail in Italy. 

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Yes- first of all, do it for yourself. Don’t try and figure out who you are writing to in the beginning. Second, be consistent – decide to write once a week, twice a week or however you can to have a schedule. As much for you as for your readers. People want to know that can depend on reading a post every Monday or Friday or every day or every other week. Just be as consistent as you can. Third, don’t try and be all things to all people. Fourth, make it a reflection of your experiences and the little stories that come across your path – People don’t need more tasting notes, or "selfies", or huge iterations on the great once in a lifetime tasting your were fortunate enough to attend. Remember what DH Lawrence said: We are transmitters. Transmit energy, life and whatever is in front of you that seems worthy of sharing, if only with yourself. 

Anything else that's important to you?

Keep it simple. Find a visually simple way to display some of the stories in images. Remember, one picture is worth a 1000 words. And People scan so much of what they “read” these days. Pictures give you more facetime with those who come across your blog.

#24: wineeconomist.com - Mike Veseth- @MikeVeseth 

Sue and I were touring Napa Valley a few years ago and met a now-famous winemaker at his tasting room. When he learned that I was an economics professor at the University of Puget Sound he began to ask me increasingly urgent questions about the economy because economic conditions would affect what he was able to do with his wine (if all went well) or what he would have to do with it (if the economic climate was unfavorable). He taught me that wine is a business as well as an art or science and that wine economics could make a useful contribution to the industry. Consumers seem to enjoy the blog because they have learned from sports, music and politics how important the business backstory can be to what appears on the main stage.

I started The Wine Economist blog (WineEconomist.com) in 2008 as a way to work out ideas in public where I could get feedback from scholars, wine industry experts and consumers, too. It was been incredibly successful and I’ve used what I have learned in my books Wine Wars (2011), Extreme Wine (2013) and Money, Taste and Wine: It’s Complicated. Now I travel the world speaking to wine industry groups and gathering material for future books and articles.

#25: wineharlots.com - Nannette Eaton - @WineHarlots 

That's fantastic. Thank you so much. I don't do the work to be recognized, but it's fun when it happens. I hope this isn't too late for your deadline.

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

The Great Recession. After a dozen years as an insurance claims investigator there was no work. And as most people know, claims adjusting is a profession that drives one to drink. Anyway, I was employed, and my friends and family said, “Nannette, we love you, but you have get a hobby. You’re driving us crazy. How about the internet? I think there’s something calling blogging.” And thus the self-medicating insurance professional morphed in the Wine Harlot.

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

The wine. Obviously the wine. But besides selecting a good beat to write about, what I really love is meeting the people in the wine industry. “Wine people are good people” and really it’s true, I’ve had the good fortune to have access and it not something I take for granted. Being able to travel to wine regions around the world has been a life changing experience.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Don’t. Get a pet — it’s a much more rewarding use of your spare time. But if I can’t dissuade your passionate, insatiable desire to create, make sure you do your research before you start. On the creative side, be clear about your brand and mission. Who are you writing for? If you hone your focus in the beginning you’ll have less mission creep down the line. Technically, make sure you have a rudimentary knowledge of how things work.

Or anything else that's important to you! 

Wine Harlots is all about bringing people together. The world is already a divisive place, but sharing a convivial glass of wine makes it abundantly clear that we have more in common than not, and our differences provide texture and vitality to our experience.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

#26: dobianchi.com - Jeremy Parzen - @DoBianchi 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

The game changer for me was when I understood that wine is the practically the only agricultural product in the world these days where the contents of the package have a direct connection to the land where the fruit is grown. We are totally disconnected from so much of what we consume these days (provenance, people who grow the food, etc.). With wine, even commercial wine, we have a greater sense of where it comes from.

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

The people I've met and the community I belong to through wine blogging. I can go nearly anywhere in the world and connect with people who share my tastes and interests. I even met my wife through wine blogging! (seriously)

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Write about what you love. Write for yourself first and foremost. Write every day.

#27: vinespot.blogspot.com - Dezel Quillen - @myvinespot 

I’m a late bloomer to the wonderful world of wine. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures that I didn’t realize I had a passion for until well into adulthood. A visit to a winery in 2005 – a first for me, is when it all started. The night I found out what a blog was, was the night I made up the corny name and started one. I only started a blog to document my experiences for family and friends since I had just moved to Virginia. It was only a matter of weeks before I found out people I didn’t even know were following my blog. At the same time, I was really getting into wine. For me, it is one of few hobbies where there is always something new to taste and learn – and that is a fact. For fellow wine enthusiasts that want to create a blog and join the fun, be sure to do so because you’re genuinely passionate about wine, the men and women who craft it; the farmers who grow it; and the land that bears the fruit. Tip: Join Twitter and Facebook, get your name out there, share the wines and people you enjoy with your followers, and be sure to say hello!

#30: steveheimoff.com - Steve Heimoff - @steveheimoff 

I began writing about wine seriously in the 1980s when I was hired by Wine Spectator Magazine. I had fallen in love with wine and, after moving to San Francisco, became a very serious student of it. I had always subscribed to Spectator, and in 1989 I decided I wanted to write for them, so I lobbied them heavily and eventually they gave me a job. I stayed there for 3-4 years as a sort of “junior” to James Laube. One day, the publisher of Wine Enthusiast offered me a job as his chief California editor, so I took it. I stayed at Enthusiast for about 22 years before making the move to Jackson Family Wines, where I report directly to CEO Rick Tigner and work on all sorts of wonderful, interesting projects.

My favorite part of writing is in the writing itself. I love words, dictionaries, Thesauruses (Thesauri?), metaphors, puns, research, history. I have learned how to write from everyone from Winston Churchill to Gore Vidal. Writing for me is as good as it gets. As Jancis noted, writing satisfies both the senses and the intellect. I’d rather write than just about anything else. Well, almost...

I started my blog in May, 2008, because I wanted to. Simple as that. It afforded me the opportunity to write in a more personal and creative style than I was able to for the magazine. My blog was quite successful from the start, no doubt because I held a position of some visibility in the States. As for advice for bloggers, I can only echo what others have said: Don’t be derivative! Be yourself. I personally don’t care much about reading endless tasting notes, but I do like hearing about people’s experiences, feelings, emotions. To me, the more personal a blog is, the better.

#33: wakawakawinereviews.com - Elaine Chukan Brown - @Hawk_Wakawaka 

My journey into wine writing started unexpectedly. Previously, my career focus was as an academic philosopher but wine had long been a studied part of my food experience. When I realized it was time to leave academia, I had already started my wine blog drawing wine tasting notes. My site was the first to publish tasting notes in illustrated form, rather than only written. As a result, it garnered enough attention that after leaving work as a professor I moved my way into wine. I've been traveling, drawing, and writing about wine ever since. For people wishing to start a blog - focus on what is uniquely your own point of view. Make sure you keep up your wine studies, then use your unique talents and perspective to deliver fun insight.

#34: terroirist.com - David White - @terroiristblog 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

I was first exposed to wine in a serious way in October 2007, when I visited Napa Valley with a few close friends. Fortunately, one of those friends knew enough about wine to put together an incredible itinerary. When I returned, I decided that wine would become my new hobby. So I started planning more trips to taste wine, including California, Oregon, Argentina. I started reading books, attending “offline” events with people from the WineBerserkers message board, and taking WSET classes. I'd been writing professionally since 2004, so in 2010, writing about wine seemed like a logical move.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

I’ve always embraced the word “blogger,” but it’s probably dated – there’s no longer a difference between wine writers and wine bloggers. They’re one and the same.

And we’re living in the golden age of wine writing. Once upon a time, wine consumers were starved for content -- they could turn to Hugh Johnson, Gerald Asher or Jancis Robinson, but that was about it. Today, anyone, anywhere, can write about wine. There are more publications than ever before, and it takes nothing more than an internet connection to be a journalist. More people have more access to more content than ever before.

As for the future? Well, there’s always room for more writers, especially if you’re willing to do something unique. That might mean specialization, like positioning yourself as an expert on Beaujolais or Michigan wines. But there’s still plenty of room for generalists, so long as you’re doing something that no one else is doing.

#35: wine-by-benito.blogspot.com - Benjamin Carter - @benitowine 

1) Origin story: I completely fell into this by accident, just using the blog as a place to keep track of notes while I was attending a lot of wine tastings. Others started reading, eventually locals discovered my site, followed by PR firms and wineries, then I began working for some other wine websites in various capacities... It's been a long road over the past ten years.

2) Favorite part: I love meeting the people, whether they're in town or I get to travel to spend time with winemakers, wine writers, or other folks in the industry. Everybody has a unique story and I've found that when we get together for such an event, we go from strangers to longtime friends very quickly.

3) Advice for newbies: I think a lot of the new and exciting trends in wine writing are going to happen in various social media spaces. Smarter folks than me will figure out whether to hitch on to the upcoming equivalents of MySpace or Facebook. But I think there will always be a place for the regular blog post.

4) Anything else important: Keep going and have fun. If it begins to stress you out, either stop or find a different outlet for your wine creative endeavors.

#38: wine-blog.org - Jo Diaz - @wineblogorg 

As a wine publicist and a webmaster for a husband, our jobs were linked for helping out clients. We took an HTML class together; I took it so I could speak his language, he took it so I wouldn't have to take ANOTHER night class alone. I wanted the night protection.

We both learned a lot in the class. I got the basics, he got the advanced info. What I also got was a window into the future; i.e., Web 2.0 was coming, and I'd actually be able to have a platform to publishing my own stories. Shortly after it was launched, I asked my husband to build a site for me and I launched in December 2005.

My blog is my journey as a wine publicist. It allows me to write a lot of backstories, the ones that are not usually seen about wineries; but, it also lets me explore other wine companies that I might otherwise have missed in my narrow scope of work.

#44: svbwine.blogspot.com - Rob McMillan - @SVBWine 

To start, this is a blog about the business of wine versus a consumer blog so there are fewer people who would be interested in reading. I never address wine as a consumer product.

To answer your question about what started me blogging, when Blogger first came out, I signed up for a URL and never did anything with it. In my role, I research and write on emerging trends in the wine business, help clients with strategy, speak often, and am a go to person for the US press in issues that impact the wine business.

My scheduled pieces come out a couple times a year. One day I had something that I wanted to write, but realized it wasn't the economic piece that would otherwise be in a bank sponsored piece. I went back to blogspot and tried my login and it worked! Twenty minutes later, I had my first post then another 3 hours of figuring out the blogger platform to adjust the skin. It was a Friday afternoon and I sent out a single tweet. When I came back Monday, I'd had over 300 reads! I was shocked to say the least, but it encouraged me to write again. Now 3 years later, there are over a half a million reads and I constantly have people telling me they read my blog.

Funny story: I walked into a prospect one afternoon and a woman greeted me and froze in her steps. With eyes wide she turned red and said, "Oh my god! I read your blog. You're Rob McMillan!" Shocked myself, I froze for a second then responded, "Yea.... not what you expected is it?" So apparently bloggers can have groupies too!

#46: thegoodwineguru.com- George Perry - @TheGoodWineGuru

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

I was working as a copywriter at the time and looking for some type of creative outlet for my personal writing. I wanted to do something short - no novels, and blogging appealed to me. I've always liked wine and decided it was something I could write about as much for myself as anybody else.

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

I like being able to share my opinions on wines with others, in large part because wine is so subjective, that I think the more voices you can hear when picking out wine, the better. I like being in the wine niche in part because it's something I love, and also because everybody I've met through the blog has been absolutely amazing - friendly, welcoming, and fun to be around. It's a great group and our conferences are always the best parties.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Just start writing. Don't expect it to turn into something overnight (because it won't), and don't be afraid to be yourself. You may isolate so potential readers, but they probably weren't your target audience anyways. Experiment with different types of content and find out what works best for you (I've tried video, and it's definitely not my forte'), and own that. Feel free to get started on a free platform (Blogger, WordPress, etc), but I do recommend you buy your own domain - they're cheap and so is hosting.

Or anything else that's important to you! 

Burn out is really easy on a blog, so set yourself a schedule in the beginning and do your best to stick to it. This not only lets you plan ahead for your posts so you're not scrambling, but it keeps you from overdoing it and running out of ideas 3 weeks in. Once you've established yourself and your readership you can publish whenever you want, but setting up some rules early on will benefit you as much as anyone.

#48: jimsloire.blogspot.com - J Budd - @jymbudd 

What made you decide to start writing about wine? 

I started writing about wine in late 1998. Prior to that I was a teacher in London. I was working on a project that came to an end when Margaret Thatcher abolished the Inner London Education Authority, so I had to decide would I go back to the classroom – I had run an English department in a large comprehensive school – or do something different. I had long been interested in wine and I had the opportunity to write about wine as a friend became publisher of the now long defunct Taste magazine.

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

Wine is endlessly fascinating, has so many great and interesting characters. It is also very convivial. Over the now nearly 28 years I have been writing I have been very privileged to visit vineyards and winemakers all around the world

As far as Jim's Loire and my others blogs (investdrinks and the coperative blog Les 5 du Vin with David Cobbold, Hervé Lalau, Michel Smith and Marc Vanhellemont) are concerned I enjoy the freedom of being able to write about anything or anybody I want and to follow and post about a story such as Pancho Campo/Jay Miller or 1855 frequently and in detail. Jim's Loire allows me to concentrate on the Loire and to write about small producers including those just starting up, who would not normally be covered by magazines.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

Focusing on a particular area or aspect may well make you stand out from the crowd. In my case – the Loire and drinks investment fraud with invest drinks.

I think it is best to blog regularly so that your readers know when to expect a post. This may be every day or once a week etc. Obviously if you only make very occasional posts it is difficult to build an audience.

Use twitter and facebook to publicize your posts.

#50: winecompass.blogspot.com - Todd Godbout - @winecompass 

What made you decide to start writing about wine? 

I created winecompass.com in order to learn a new programming language and to document the wineries I had visited. Because I was new to wine, the blog documented discovering new grapes and wineries. Since then I've augmented the blog to include beer, spirits, and cider and the mobile app. 

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

Meeting and communicating with other wine bloggers. I have several blogging friends that I communicate with weekly and am able to meet with a few from the DC area on a regular basis.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

Blogging is like opening a bottle of wine; it's a commitment. You have to post regularly and try to improve your writing weekly. And finally, sample wine as often as possible to develop a palate.

#51: rockinredblog.com - Michelle Williams - @Fiery01Red

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

Rockin Red Blog was born in May, 2014. I had just completed my master’s degree at SMU and I had several professors encouraging me to apply for a PhD program. Simultaneously, as a twenty plus year wine enthusiast, I was engaged in the wine community on Twitter and began receiving requests to review wine samples. It was at this point that my discernment of a possible future in academia met my love of the grape. Writing is like a muscle, it must be used regularly to stay in shape. Therefore, I decided to maintain my writing muscle by embracing my passion for wine, food and music in a hopefully entertaining and educational platform on Rockin Red Blog.

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

I have chosen to use my wine blog as a platform that is fun, educational and much easier to understand and relate to than academic writing. My favorite aspect of this writing is its light hearted, fun nature that provides enough education to be useful and challenge readers to embrace new ideas, thoughts and knowledge. My favorite part about being in the wine niche is the great stories that so often go untold about the people behind the wine. As an eternal student I love the knowledge of the art and science of winemaking, the learning never ends. And of course I love drinking all the amazing wines from all over the world that I have been blessed to enjoy over the course of the last year. I believe wine is a poetic collaboration between God and humanity, being a voice in sharing the beauty of that collaboration is an honor and a privilege.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

My advice for anyone who wants to start a wine website or their own blog is find you voice, be true to your voice and always remember your audience. I began my blog being authentic to myself and my audience found me; therefore, it is important to maintain my authenticity as Rockin Red Blog grows and expands. This is important for all writers. Additionally, be consistent about producing good content and interact with your audience on social media; do not just talk at people, talk with them.

#53: anotherwineblog.com - Amy Corron Power - @WineWonkette 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

Before we wrote about wine, we wrote about American sports, primarily about the University of Toledo football program. While American football certainly has its appeal, wine is global in reach. Joe started the blog back in 2007 to speak directly to the consumer wine drinker, because so many of the glossy publications tended to make wine intimidating to the every day person. I joined the blog in 2008 and took over most of the writing duties beginning in late 2010. Our goal is to make wine more approachable, and to take out the intimidation factor, so people aren't afraid to taste or order something without putting their complete faith in the hands of a sommelier, a wine shop owner, or a magazine who may be more inclined to represent the labels of well-known advertisers.

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

Joe will tell you his favourite part is drinking the wine. But what I like best is meeting all the interesting people connected to the niche -- not just those selling the wine, but the people tilling the soil, pruning the vines, harvesting the grapes, fermenting the juice and creating the final cuvee. The community of wine lovers, wine growers, and wine makers is tremendous, supportive, and is as beautiful and sustaining as the wine itself.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

First, register your domain name. Do this before you write a single word. As a person who is not only involved in writing about wine, but also as an attorney and public relations professional, my first advice to them is register your domain name before you start writing your blog. So many times people forget this first step, and have blog named "I-write-about-wine.blogspot.extension-that-is-not-dot.com" then when they get around to buying the domain name, it is already gone.

Second, do not be afraid to find your own voice. Not everyone can be Jancis Robinson, Jamie Good or Chris Kassel. Certainly read other blogs and wine magazines to learn about grapes, wines, and even writing styles you admire. But find your own authentic style. Write what interests you. Because your passion will come through in your writing, and will attract readers who want to know what you have to say.

Third, tastes lots of wine. The more you taste wine, the more you learn about wine. And as you build your own palate and portfolio of knowledge, you will have more to share with your readers.

Finally, promote your blog! Make sure you talk about your blog on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, and any other social media platform available. If you take pictures, try to include your blog's logo or name. Offer to guest post on other sites and ask bloggers you admire to write a guest post on yours. Feature other bloggers in your "Links" section. Create a community of support.

Or anything else that's important to you! :)

Finally, writing a blog is a lot of work. Many people assume it is this very glamorous endeavor that will get you lots of "free" wine, trips to fabulous places and access to fabulous people. Yes, it does that for a small percentage of us bloggers. Those are truly awesome perks! But that is not why we write about wine. Some of us say it is much easier to simply book our own trips, go buy a good bottle of wine, and drink it without obligation. The true reward is the sense of community you find all over the world of wine. The people you will meet: The stories others will share with you -- that is what will fuel your passion and encourage you to share what you have learned with your readers!

#55: travelingwinechick.com - Elizabeth Smith - @travelwinechick 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

I participated in Twitter virtual wine tastings in 2009 and 2010 before I had a blog. I felt like I should be doing more to share the wine samples I was receiving for these tastings. I was also interested in attending the 2011 Wine Bloggers' Conference, which was in my backyard in Charlottesville, Virginia, but I didn't yet have a blog. A friend gave up her conference registration so that I could attend in her place. I began my blog so I would qualify to attend the conference as a citizen blogger and be able to share wine with a larger audience other than Twitter.

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

My writing became a stepping stone to my current career as a wine club manager in Napa Valley. My blog inspired me to take foundation, intermediate, and advanced certification in wine and spirits, which in turn, opened more doors for me. In January 2014, I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast to begin my second career in the wine business.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

We are all lifetime learners of wine, so don't be afraid to just do it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

#57: rockssandfruit.blogspot.com - Matthew Cohen - @grapeylyle 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

I've spent a lot of time in wine retail educating customers about new regions that are relatively unknown but have one or more world class producers making incredible wines that are great values. I'm best known for being one of the earliest US backers of many of the top dry German wines but was I also one of the first people to sell some of the top producers in the Jura, Savoie and other regions. The blog was started to reach a broader audience to educate wine lovers.

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

I really love introducing wine drinkers to new producers and regions that they have not heard of. Now that I have my own company ( www.fassselections.com) I can import what I want and because I mostly buy direct from wineries, I can offer wines at a 30-40% discount off of traditional retail. It's a lot easier to get people to try the best wine in Savoie, for example, when it's $35 instead of $55.

Many Americans think that winemakers live the life of luxury in chateaus filled with antiques. Most of them are farmers who are one man operations and struggle to pay their bills. I've been able to assemble a portfolio of the next stars of France and Germany and sell them at huge discounts to what they would normally cost. I'm mostly selling wines from Burgundy, the Northern Rhone, Champagne, Savoie, the Loire, Beaujolais and, of course, Germany. The blog is another outlet for me to help tell their stories and sell their wines. I also use it to comment on interesting trends in the wine world.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

I guess like any blog, you should have something interesting and different to say. Become an expert on the wines of Georgia or Croatia and educate us.

#59: wineoftheweek.com - Sue Courtney - @winescribe  

I started to write about wine in my local community paper, the Rodney Times (distributed north of Auckland City) in 1996 as no-one else was doing it. After three years of thinking about it I finally got the courage to send a few sample columns to the Editor and he liked them. I retired this print column last year.

I started my website in 1998 as no-one was doing it and because writing in print is restrictive. My columns were 400 words or less and I could only review three or four wines at a time so I decided to put my tasting notes and early columns online. Also, as a couple of people here in NZ had started websites but never kept them up to date and then let them lapse altogether, I decided it was important to regularly update, hence the name Wine of the Week. I could then highlight a wine that had captivated me and ramble on about it each week – and so it was for the first fifteen years of wineoftheweek.com – although I have been pretty slack in this respect the past couple of years

Writing on a wine website or blog makes your writing accessible immediately and not only locally, but also internationally. My website brought my writing to the attention of magazine editors and I had regular columns in NZ magazines during most of the 2000s. Sadly four magazines I wrote four no longer exist. I have one monthly print column left.

One piece of advice I would give to people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own - keep updating it. I still update tasting notes and aim to put some of my recent columns online.

#60: thewinestalker.net - Joey Casco - @thewinestalker 

Some of my peers at work talked me into it. They liked my writing style and sense of humor in my monthly wine picks and kept suggesting that I start blogging. I didn't have much time back then, as I was working one full-time job and three part-time jobs. But my daughter went from being a newborn to a three-year-old overnight so I quit all of the part-time jobs to spend more time with her. At night after she was asleep I would study for the Certified Specialist of Wine test, and I started The Wine Stalker as a Facebook page to follow my studies and post about wine in general. After I passed the CSW, my nights freed up. What was I gonna do with them now? So I bought a domain name, joined the other social media outlets, and started writing.

My favorite part is reaffirmed that I'm not completely crazy. Like when I say that Bodegas Aalto Ribero del Duero smells like ruffled barbacue potato chips and people actually agree instead of hanging me from the gallos. Or when I think I'm the only one that can't stand the word "connoisseur" but then get "Amen!''s all over the place. It's nice to know your thoughts are relatable to people all over the world.

I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is to make sure your personality shows in everything you do. If who you are isn't displayed regularly then there's nothing separating your work from everybody else. There's more super-professional, afraid of controversy, bland, Charlie Brown's parents "wonk wonk" wine websites than you can count. But there's only one you, and that's your greatest resource.

#61: chevsky.com - Gary Chevsky - @IronChevsky

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

My own learning and exploration of wine, and the love that was blossoming in me for this magical drink, and wanting to share it with others.

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

Ability to connect with other wine lovers, and the access the blog enables to tasting a wide variety of wines.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Don't! It's a crowded field. You have to be in it for a long long haul, in order to matter. It's hard work.

#62: thevirginiagrape.blogspot.com - Brian Yost - @virginiagrape 

For several years, I wrote mostly travel vignettes and short memoirs for my own entertainment and distribution to a small audience. At the same time, I have been interested in wine since living in a German wine region (Franconia) in the 1980s. In 1995 I moved to Virginia, where I live in the heart of wine country. Visiting wineries became sort of a hobby, so I have been watching the evolution of local wines for nearly 20 years. The idea to merge writing with my love of local wine came as I was considering options for a blog. I might describe it as an epiphany. It just sort of occurred to me and I acted on it.

I was not sure how I would proceed, but I soon observed the cooperative nature of the various members of the Virginia wine community. It is such a noncompetitive industry, where everyone is eager to help each other and share information. What other industry operates in such a manner? I was instantly intrigued and compelled to become an advocate for local wine.

My blog soon led me to look for other opportunities. I have written for American Winery Guide and the Midwest Wine Press. I had a wine column in a local print publication for a short time. More recently, I launched an online wine travel magazine--Wine Tourist Magazine at www.winetouristmagazine.com. I am using this as another creative outlet and have recruited contributors from around the world to assist.

I believe that anyone interested in wine blogging should certainly pursue that calling. There is a lot of room in the blogosphere. My advice is just to find your voice. Few people are happy with everything they write, but don't be discouraged. You won't amass an audience overnight, but remember that it is a "personal blog." More than anything, you are writing for yourself. I think that many bloggers become disheartened and quit, because they don't have a following or perhaps they are unhappy with what they are producing. Keep writing until you find your niche. Keep writing and until you are happy with what your write and your audience will grow. Just keep writing.

#63: toledowinesandvines.blogspot.com - David Nershi - @toledowav 

What made you start writing about wine? 

My wife and I started really getting into the finer points of wine about six years ago. I was at a wine tasting and it occurred to me that people in our area (Toledo, Ohio) needed a central site that served their needs by publishing a weekly calendar of wine events. Our blog also features tasting notes from wines from around the world and reports on different wineries we visit. 

Favorite part: I'm a former newspaper and magazine journalist, so for me, this is my creative outlet. Wine is a social connector. Being a wine writer encourages me to explore new wines and new wine destinations. There's nothing better than tasting wine where it was made. In the course of doing stories, you get to better know those in the wine space, the winery owners, winemakers, wine shop managers and wine lovers. By and large they are engaging and interesting. Each bottle of wine contains the story of the land, vineyard and people involved in its creation. I try to uncork that story. 

Advice: Don't get into this if you are trying to make money. I was once asked if I made much money writing my blog. I responded that I made about enough to buy a corkscrew. Before you launch your blog, you should create a backlog of "foundation" articles that you can use in the beginning. These should be stories of wide interest that don't become dated. Also, commit to a publishing schedule that is reasonable for you. There are a lot of skeletons of abandoned blogs littering the landscape out there. 

Wine is a celebration of life. Enjoy it.

#64: virginiawinetime - Warren and Paul - @vawinetime 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

We decided to start writing our wine blog because we were taking part of the Virginia Wine Passport program in 2005. You would travel to as many Virginia wineries as you can and get stamps in a passport book. Then you would submit your passport to possibly win a big prize. We never won but enjoyed traveling the state visiting wineries so much that we decided to share our experiences online, on a blog. That’s how Virginia Wine Time got started.

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

Seeing all the changes take place with Virginia wines, experiencing different vintages, being able to compare the vintages, meeting all the winemakers, meeting other wine writers and sharing all of it with our readers.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Be respectful, don’t assume you deserve discounts and special attention while visiting wineries. Avoid being a diva. Be humble.

#67: grape-experiences.com - Cindy Rynning - @grapeexp_cindy 

What made you decide to write about wine? 

As someone who never needs an excuse to enjoy a glass of wine, I decided that I wanted to actually learn more about it! In the spring of 2011 I began taking classes through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). I then decided to start my wine blog, Grape Experiences, in September of 2011 as a means to share that information with others. A few months later, I took and passed the WSET Advanced Level to expand my knowledge even further. But you can never learn enough about wine!! I write to share my knowledge about the wines I taste, the people I meet, the events I attend, and more. As a result, I have a loyal following (besides my mother).

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

There are many favorite parts! Writing can be mentally taxing…how do I write a post that isn’t boring, gives enough interesting and pertinent information about a wine or person I meet, may inspire others in some way, and is in “my voice”? After an article or short post is finished (and edited several times), I enjoy sitting back and knowing that I did the best job I could do…quite satisfying when I receive emails thanking me or letting me know that they appreciate the information. And since I’m a social animal, I absolutely adore meeting others in the wine business: fellow wine bloggers, vineyard owners and winemakers, importers, and more…and understanding their perspective on wine and life.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

There are a few points that I always keep in mind. If starting a blog/website is a passion, do not give up! You must write consistently, edit constantly before publishing (and sometimes after), and keep doing it even though your analytics report that only a few people are looking at your work. Find your voice. No one wants to read yet another press release; people are reading your blog because you are sharing good information from your perspective. Network. Meet people in your field, be active on social media, attend conferences and get involved, ask questions, and listen to the answers. Work hard and have fun whether you are making your website/blog a business or a hobby. Your readers will feel it in your writing.

#68: wild4washingtonwine.com - William Pollard - @wild4wawine 

After a year working for a local winery, my head was full of wine country experiences. So I began to write about wine. While I no longer work for a winery, writing has become my outlet, an indispensable tool for sharing my excitement about the world of wine. And it settles down the thoughts swirling around my head so I can sleep at night. When I can't sleep, I write about wine.

I love the constant exposure to new wines, varieties, styles and vintages. Being invited to wineries, winemaker dinners and special wine and food events is icing on an already delicious cake. It's also how I make friends and meet like minded individuals. Wine brings people together.

About two years ago, I became the co-host for a monthly podcast about wine, "The Wine Muse" on Minstrel and Muse. Each month we taste and explore the large world of wine. It is a lot of fun interviewing winemakers and sharing what we know about wine, wine technology and the culture of wine. I also enjoy talking about wine. A lot.

For those interested in writing about wine and starting a blog, my advice is...do it! Writing is a wonderful outlet and writing about wine is a great way to make friends in the wine industry. The more you write, the better you will find your voice and writing style. Keep your writing positive but don't compromise your ethics. Be true to your palate and enjoy a bottle of wine with friends. Then write about it.

#71: damewine.com - Cathrine Todd - @damewine 

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

Before starting my blog in June 2014, I had been in the wine trade for over a decade selling either for a distributor or retailer. At the same time, I was trying to get through the Masters of Wine (MW) program as well. I was never able to pass the exams, but through the process I was given a lot of great feedback by MWs about my unique voice. That gave me the courage to start my own blog and to begin a writing career.

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

I love how my thoughts can spark discussions with others on social media. Wine is very personal, and is connected to so many aspects of a person’s personality, history and experiences. There is nothing more fulfilling than getting feedback from someone who opens my mind to another perspective of a certain wine topic. They are typically rich conversations that make me feel that I’m connected with many different types of people around the world.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

If you want to do it, do it. If you are afraid, that is natural. I was terrified. But it has enriched my life 100 times over, and it would have been a big mistake to never give it a try. But bring your own voice to the table. There is no right or wrong, as long as you are checking your facts and speaking your truth.

Or anything else that's important to you!

I use the name Dame Wine for my blog because I wanted to empower myself so I could empower other people. If you are truly passionate about wine, then you bring something valuable to the discussion. I want to hear my followers’ voices because they help me grow, they keep things fresh and new and ultimately, wine for me is about connecting.

#73: comeforthewine.com - Marcy Gordon - @marcygordon 

First I want to thank the people who took the time and effort to compile this list using all the many analytic metrics. As you probably know you can’t please everybody and those that are on lists such as this will laud it and those that are not will dismiss it, but it’s still a lot of work to compile something like this and then suffer the slings and arrows of public opinion.

Upon hearing I was on this list I first thought someone was playing a joke on me, and then my knee jerk reaction was more to the Grouch Marx school of: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”

But there are many fine blogs on this list and I appreciate being in their company.

My blogging advice in a nutshell (with a sincere hat tip to W. Somerset Maugham) -- “There are three rules for blogging. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

#75: pullthatcork.com - Nancy Brazil - @pullthatcork 

We are Peter Bourget and Nancy Brazil and we love all things related to wine, food and travel. We are fortunate to live in California which produces amazing wine in a wonderful variety of styles. For us wine, food and travel have become a natural pairing. We began writing about wine as a way to chronicle the wines we tasted at a weekly wine tasting at a local wine shop. From there our interest in wine has expanded to writing about the wineries we visit in our travels. No matter where we travel, we look for wines of the region to pair with local food. We have found some amazing combinations.

We do not rate wines, but simply describe what we taste. We hope to give our readers enough information to decide for themselves if the wine is one that suits their style. We love sharing our experiences with our readers and friends via social media. We have made friends around the world and learned so much from them. So, as it says at the top of PullThatCork…Wine makes our life more fun!

#80: kristalamb.blogspot.ca - Krista Lamb - @kristalamb 

What made you decide to start writing about wine? 

I had been blogging about healthy living (another passion), when I started chatting with a local winemaker on Twitter. At first I was interested in the local movement, but he introduced me to other wine lovers who welcomed me into the community. Soon, I was writing the occasional post about wine and then it turned to all wine as my interest grew. It's been nice to see my readership grow alongside that!

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

I love the community most of all - finding other people who are interested in terroir, vintage variation and the other nerdy aspects of wine is a wonderful thing! But it's also been a chance to use my journalism degree and love of writing in a way that I truly enjoy.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

This is something people ask me about a lot and I always encourage them, but also remind them that if you want to be successful at blogging you have to be dedicated to it. I've seen a lot of people start blogs and then they realize it's a lot of work and their posts drop off. Keeping up with posts isn't always easy, but it's hard to build a readership without posting regularly. Sometimes I'm exhausted from work and life, but I still try to make time for the blog.

Or anything else that's important to you!

My blog is a labour of love that has brought so much good into my life. It has been truly life-changing and it has been amazing to have so many people follow along with my wine journey. I'm so glad I started down this path and can't wait to see what the future brings.

#82: oddbacchus.com - Rob Frisch - @OddBacchus

What made you decide to start writing about wine?

Because I've long had a habit of ordering the most unusual wine on a menu, and because I wrote a restaurant review column for a while, my husband suggested starting a blog about obscure wines. I dismissed the idea until I walked into my favorite wine shop in Chicago and asked what they had that was new and unusual. The owner suggested a velvety Serbian Vranac, and I knew I had to write about it. My husband was right. Who would have guessed?

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche?

It's exciting and a privilege to be able to taste so many beautiful wines, of course, but my greatest pleasure is meeting winemakers. Especially because I focus on unusual and obscure wines, the people I meet are invariably fascinating and passionate. Bringing delightful lesser-known wines to the attention of a wider public gives me great satisfaction. But most everyone in the wine business has a memorable personality, and it's been a joy to meet so many remarkable sommeliers, distributors, wine shop owners and fellow wine writers.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own?

Keep the look of the site as well as your prose simple and uncluttered. If you have trouble getting started on a post, just write something, and later delete the first sentence or two -- that often helps. Most important, if you write something nice about a wine, be sure to alert the winery, its distributor and/or the shop or restaurant where you found it.

Or anything else that's important to you!

I'm fortunate enough to be able to travel with some regularity to wine regions, and I can't emphasize how important I think it is to visit vineyards and wineries yourself. It makes a huge difference in how I experience wine from that place. We talk a lot about terroir in wine, and I think it can seep into people, too. When you stand in a vineyard, a little of its terroir stays with you. Drinking a wine is always a richer experience after you have been to its home.

#85: novacadamatre.com - Nova Cadamatre - @novacadamatre 

What made you decide to start writing about wine? 

I am a winemaker by trade. A little over 5 years ago, Steve Heimoff (please check spelling there...), published a blog saying how winemakers should blog about wine and their experiences so that got me going!

What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

I love the lifestyle surrounding wine. The good food and sharing experiences and wines with friends are all parts of why I love this industry. I became a winemaker because it may be one of the only professions where you can grow a raw material, make a product from it, and then personally go sell that product to your end consumer. Not many other professions can claim to do that!

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

Just start writing. A blogger recently posted that wine blogging is all about persistence. It's not a quick pay off (or a pay off at all) but you have to enjoy writing. Otherwise it becomes a chore. I've turned my blog into a way to continually learn and share my knowledge with my readers.

Or anything else that's important to you! :) 

I'm so excited that people enjoy my blog. I never imagined that I would be known as a blogger but only hoped to be known as a winemaker who blogs! Any idea where I am in the top 100 if there is a ranking? I'm sure I'm in the higher numbers. I'm very surprised that I made the list!

#90: girlsgogrape.com - Christine Campbell - @girlsgogrape 

My journey into wine writing came from having a baby. I was at home, with a newborn, and felt my brain craving information, facts and knowledge. I signed up for and took my WSET (Wine Spirits Education Trust) Level 1 and received a perfect score. Going into the course, I thought I had a pretty good handle on wine, varieties, countries, etc. Turns out, what I thought I knew amounted to not much and so my desire to learn and understand everything I could was created. I currently hold my WSET Advanced Level 3 with Honours and I am a French Wine Scholar ( FWS).

Starting my blog was a way to keep track of the wines I tried. I used the 'Systematic Approach to Tasting' taught by WSET. In essence, it was my own personal study guide. Once I started writing about wine and talking about wine, most people I spoke with wanted to talk about wine or to share their wine stories with me. All of a sudden, I was amidst a group of people who all had a great passion for wine. It was a remarkable discovery and one that inspired me to keep writing. For almost three years now, I have not missed a single post. I write once a week, on #wineWednesday, with a review on a wine or communicate what I have been up to in my wine travels and journeys.

Traveling to wine regions is one of my favourite things to do. I recently have been to Champagne, France, Paso Robles, California and the Willamette Valley, Oregon. This year I look forward to a trip to the Finger Lake District of New York and a trip to Walla Walla, Washington. I sit on the B.C. VQA assessment panel and spend a lot of time touring through the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. I love walking through rows of vineyards, understanding climates and having a sense of 'place'.

If you are on the fence about starting a wine blog/website - just say 'yes' to yourself. Writing can only bring you closer to people who share a common passion and give you another meaningful layer to your life. I have met fellow bloggers who are now life-long friends and am a paid wine writer for three online wine magazines. Attend wine blogging conferences! Try not to have too much of a plan - I think that by doing so, you miss out on the journey.

#97: redwineplease.com - Neil Dubois - @redwineplease1

What made you decide to start writing about wine? 

Wine had been a major part of my life, and a major interest area, for some time prior to beginning our blog. I had worked with wineries while getting my MBA in the late 90’s, and it became a passion about that time. It was my wife, Cheri, who suggested one day that I should turn that interest into something and write a blog. Once I started it grew into a bit of an obsession. Going to school and getting my CSW only reinforced that. Hopefully this turns into a full time job with an income some day. 

What is your favourite part about writing and being in the wine niche? 

Clearly the best part of this is the fabulous people you meet. Others mention the quality of people in this business, the fact that they are open, friendly and welcoming to anyone who shares their passion. It’s completely true. We have met people from vineyards, wineries and wine shops around parts of the world, and the common denominator is always how nice they are. Getting to try the wines, roaming the vineyards and talking to the winemakers is very cool, but everyone is wonderful almost without exception. 

Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine website or blog of their own? 

First and foremost is that you have to give this some time. You’re going to start from nothing, and it takes time to get a significant distance from nothing. Your content should be your own, and cover something you care about. It can be discouraging for a while as your metrics languish, but stay with it. Right after we started I got some advice from another blogger who said you have to give it 2-3 years before you get traction. We’ve just hit that point and it seems to be right on target. Be persistent, and understand this takes a lot of time and effort.

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